Top 5 Must-have Features Your CPaaS Billing Tool Needs in 2024

10 Mins Read
Smuruthi Kesavan
Published On : 11/12/2023

The CPaaS market is entering a high-growth phase - expected to balloon into a $32 billion industry by 2028 growing at 26% CAGR.

However, with explosive usage across voice, video, and messaging offerings, billing complexity can easily spiral out of control. Tracking usage, defining pricing models, and automating billing processes are critical but challenging.

As communication channels and use cases multiply, providers need billing infrastructure capable of managing present needs while remaining future-ready.

Surging Usage Across Digital Channels

CPaaS platforms are the backbone enabling enterprises to embed messaging, voice, and email channels within business applications via APIs.

From sales teams interacting with leads on messaging apps to automated notifications going over SMS, CPaaS unlocks digital communication embedded in workflows.

As more industries are onboard, monthly usage metrics are surging across SMS, voice calls, in-app chats, email APIs, and even emerging channels like RCS, video, IoT, etc.

WhatsApp recently opened their APIs sparking a new wave of growth. Adding other third-party ecosystems like payments, identity verification, etc. also compounds billing complexity.

Overcoming Billing Limitations

However, the billing infrastructure for most providers has not kept pace with usage explosion and product innovation.

Reliance on outdated on-premise telco billing systems or error-prone spreadsheet-based processes continues. Billing for many CPaaS providers has become a bottleneck versus an asset.

Common CPaaS billing limitations include:

  • Usage tracking for accurate charging of API calls, conversations, etc.
  • Constraints offering hybrid pricing models beyond basic pre/postpaid
  • Poor visibility into account balance deductions triggering customer complaints
  • Revenue leakage and delays due to disjointed billing processes
  • Inability to offer invoice templates that can be consolidated or can be drilled down as per customer requirements

As customer and product complexities spiral, CPaaS platforms need billing capabilities to match the present scale while remaining future-ready.

Also Read: Top 5 Pricing Features you must look out for in your Billing tool

5 Must-Have Features For Cpaas Billing Tool

1. Flexible & Scalable Rating Engine

A flexible and scalable rating engine is at the heart of such a system. This engine must efficiently manage the diverse usage metrics of different services and scale according to customer needs and market dynamics.

With varied services, usage metrics differ widely - several messages, call minutes, etc. Capturing appropriate dimensions becomes vital. In other words converting diverse usage data into a standardized format for billing, ensuring every interaction, regardless of its nature, is accurately tracked and billed.

Your CPaaS metering tool should have:

- Configurable parameters to define usage data sources
- Ingest raw usage and transform usage data with customer, and product attributes
- On-demand rating for real-time visibility
- Tiered pricing slabs to incentivize specific usage behaviors
- Dimensional rating with attributes like region, and message categories for accurate attribution

2. Diverse Monetization Models

With customer tiers from enterprises to individual developers, offerings must support models from pure usage-based to hybrid bundles.

CPaaS providers need the flexibility to create bundles that combine various services into a single package at a fixed price, simplifying billing and providing cost certainty for businesses with consistent communication needs.

The billing tool should offer flexibility, especially for project-based or seasonal usage, without the worry of post-use billing.

The diverse billing needs for CPaaS include:

- Metered billing to link directly to API usage
- Bundling communication credits for usage predictability
- Prepaid credits for subscribers to pay in advance
- Easy interfaces with payment systems - cards, carrier billing

The billing tool should cater to both global direct businesses and third-party developer ecosystem monetization needs.

3. Real-Time Account Balance Tracking

In the CPaaS environment, services like voice, messaging, and API calls are consumed at varying scales, real-time account balance tracking becomes crucial. This ensures that CPaaS users have immediate insights into their usage and expenditures, which is vital for managing budgets and avoiding service interruptions.

The billing tool should be able to configure balance components according to different service types (like SMS, voice, data) allowing users to have a clear breakdown of their usage and spending, aiding in better financial planning and usage management.

Also the billing tool should have automated alerts and notifications when usage thresholds are approached or reached help prevent unexpected service outages and provide businesses with the opportunity to react before balances run out.

Here’s what your CPaaS billing tool should have:

- Configure account balance components - usage, monetary
- Live visibility into balance deductions for prepaid accounts
- Real-time visibility of credit limits
- Notifications as limits are approached
- Workflows for easy self-serve top-ups
- Provide accurate, real-time visibility into usage for precise tracking despite volatility at scale - pre/postpaid.

4. End-to-End Process Automation

Automation streamlines the journey from service usage to billing and revenue recognition, eliminating manual errors, reducing operational delays, and enhancing the overall efficiency for CPaaS.

Billing data is absolutely essential for CPaaS providers as it helps them standardize how usage data is collected and aggregated, CPaaS providers ensure consistency in billing across different services and make it easier to analyze overall usage trends.

Batch processing for rating usage data helps manage system resources efficiently and ensures that large volumes of data are processed accurately, which is crucial for billing integrity.

Integration of invoicing with order orchestration systems ensures that billing is dynamically aligned with service usage, providing transparency and accuracy in customer billing.

The CPaaS billing tool should have:

- Standard usage data for aggregation
- Dynamic invoices integrated with order orchestration
- Payment automation with PSPs
- Revenue recognition into accounting systems

5. Actionable Analytics for Effective Decision Making

Analytics transform vast amounts of usage and billing data into insightful, actionable information, enabling CPaaS providers and their clients to make informed decisions about pricing, service offerings, and customer engagement strategies.

The billing tool should provide you with custom reports that go beyond generic data, offering tailored insights specific to a business's unique needs. This can include usage trends, cost analysis, and effectiveness of different communication channels.

You should also be able to do cohort analysis which breaks down data into specific customer groups or behaviors over time, providing deeper insights into customer engagement and lifecycle. As data explodes, analytics becomes pivotal for optimal monetization planning.

The ability to export detailed usage data provides flexibility in data analysis, allows businesses to conduct in-depth, customized reviews outside the primary billing platform.

Analytics that your CPaaS billing tool should have:

- Custom reporting beyond standard reports
- Interactive visualization dashboards
- Flexible cohorts analysis
- Accounts receivable analytics for cash forecasting
- Exportable rated usage data files

Billing analytics enables informed global pricing planning, service bundling calibrations, and early churn indicators.

Final Thoughts

As customer, product, and geographical complexities rise exponentially for CPaaS firms, having future-ready billing capabilities provides a strategic advantage.

Forward-thinking platforms are already integrating agile solutions to enable innovation without business disruption as usage peaks.

Togai, the leading Usage-based Metering and Billing Software, empowers CPaaS platforms to unlock flexibility and automation for diverse monetization models, and accelerate multi-country rollouts confidently while adding next-gen digital channels.

By tackling billing intricacies, providers can stay focused on customer-first product innovation for the next wave of communications transformation.

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WRITTEN BY
Smuruthi Kesavan
Product and Content Marketing at Togai
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